Home Ad Exchange News TikTok Pixels, Use It Or Lose It; Walmart Pluses Another Plus

TikTok Pixels, Use It Or Lose It; Walmart Pluses Another Plus


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Pixel Problems

Calls to ban TikTok in the US or compel it to sell the platform to a non-Chinese owner have placed TikTok’s data collection practices under increased scrutiny. One ancillary result is government agencies taking a crash course on tracking pixels.

An investigation by cybersecurity firm Feroot Security found TikTok tracking pixels on more than two dozen state government websites, The Wall Street Journal reports.

TikTok pixels are common for advertisers on the platform and make clear sense for the Maryland Department of Health’s COVID-19 site or Utah’s government-run job listing site, which push people to scheduling pages and the like. 

However, Maryland’s and Utah’s governors signed executive orders forbidding TikTok on state-owned devices and networks. Can state agencies effectively use TikTok to source candidates and citizens who legitimately use their services if TikTok isn’t allowed on government phones or devices? 

While the use of tracking pixels is widespread in digital advertising, new laws and executive orders targeting TikTok will, as always, mean policymakers and legislators with superficial knowledge of online advertising will be wading deep into the inner workings of digital media.  

Any Plus In A Storm

Last August, Walmart raised eyebrows when it added a free Paramount+ subscription to its Walmart+ membership. 

That deal was a harbinger of things to come.

TV and satellite broadcast companies fight huge court battles over an extra $6 or so per subscriber as part of their carriage agreements. 


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Walmart eats that cost and says, “Thank you, may I have some more?”

One revealing thing about the undisclosed terms between Walmart and Paramount is that Paramount tells its subscribers to unsubscribe and re-up with Walmart+ instead at the end of the billing cycle to take advantage of the discount. They’re saving people money, but Paramount’s general instincts are not to recommend its subscribers drop its service and re-up somewhere else. 

The latest example is SiriusXM, which cut a deal for six free months of service via Walmart+, Axios reports. 

For media companies stuck on a subscription plateau, Walmart is suddenly the easiest, quickest lift. The trade-off is those are Walmart subscribers now. The SiriusXM freebies will end. And, for Paramount, every person they pushed to Walmart must be reenrolled if they churn as Walmart+ subscribers.

Just A Chat

“Almost every service we use on the internet is basically a platform for advertising, especially search engines.”

That’s according to the business news site Marketplace, from a recent briefing with Garrett Johnson, marketing professor at Boston University’s business school. 

It’s easy to see how that statement feels like a natural law of the universe. Although an ad-free search engine startup like Neeva may dispute the premise. 

But for advertisers, how will chat-based search change good old SEO? Slack may have been cool and taken off as an email replacement, but it never changed the trajectory of email marketing. Will chat-based search actually change search?

Johnson and the Marketplace Tech hosts speculate on what a full chatbot revolution would mean. For one, he said, “it creates a ‘winner take most’ dynamic.” New or less-known publishers would struggle to work their way into consideration the way they can now by breaking news that’s ranked highly in search, gaining links from respected sources or even buying traffic.

The other big question is shopping. 

“That’s, I think, gonna be really interesting to see when that hand-off takes place,” Johnson says. For a surefire search for pizza delivery, say: “Like, does it stay on the Bing website? Or does it move to Domino’s?”

But Wait, There’s More!

Google launches Bard AI chatbot to rival ChatGPT. [WSJ]

Inside the demise of Vice, from turning away a $3.5 billion offer to a ‘painful’ downward spiral. [Insider]

Ben Kruger, a Googler and ecommerce consultant, has a cheeky message for the marketing masses: “GA4 is sick, you’re just being lazy.” [personal blog]

Publishers tout generative AI opportunities to save and make money amid a rough media market. [Digiday]

You’re Hired!

Advertiser Perceptions names Josh Becker as CFO. [release]

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